When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball in 2017, the franchise didn’t realize just how much of a headache that father LaVar Ball was going to be. LaVar has dominated headlines over the last couple of years with his extremely outgoing personality and bizarre comments and opinions about the Lakers team.
But the big question is, did Magic Johnson actually want to draft Ball in the first place.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, it wasn’t Magic’s decision at all, instead, it was the Lakers owner Jeanie Buss who pushed for Lonzo Ball to be picked as the second overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft.
“What I’m about to say, Magic Johnson would categorically probably deny,” said Smith on ESPN Radio. “That’s my friend, my brother. I love him. If Magic Johnson was sitting next to me on national television and he said opposite or contrary to what I’m about to tell you, I’d tell him, ‘That’s a lie, and you know it.’ Magic Johnson would not have drafted Lonzo Ball if were not for Jeanie Buss.”
If this is true, it’s a big revelation to know that Magic Johnson never actually intended on selecting Ball in the draft. It may also have been a big mistake to listen in to the Lakers owner on this call with Lonzo not exactly living up to the hype.
Smith believes that Buss was so keen on drafting Lonzo for marketing reasons with LaVar Ball’s promotion helping make his son look much better than he really is. There was hope that this would draw more Lakers fans back leading to more revenue.
Magic Johnson did indeed want a point guard with that second overall pick but there could have been so many other better options that they could have made. Jayson Tatum who was picked up third in the 2017 draft by the Boston Celtics would have been an ultimate pick and would right now be complementing LeBron James very well.
The future of Lonzo in L.A is currently up in the air with the Lakers more than willing to trade him away with other assets if it means they can have Anthony Davis in return.